Distortion

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Version 0.25: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
It warps and distorts space around it. Unwielding it can cause banishment or high damage.

Distortion is a brand that any melee weapon may have. Distortion weapons bend and tear the fabric of space-time, and generate a variety of effects when they hit:

Chance Effect
35% The target takes an additional 1-7 damage
25% The target takes an additional 3-26 damage (14.5 on average, low variation)
20% The target blinks
10% The target is banished to the Abyss
10% Nothing happens

Conversely, unwielding a weapon branded with distortion or casting Excruciating Wounds on it also causes dangerous effects to the player:

This is a very good reason to avoid wield-IDing random magic and artifact weapons -- while distortion is a very rare brand, wielding it on accident can easily result in the end of a promising run. Note that followers of Lugonu are protected from these effects.

Strategy

  • Since the brand's effect is not dependent on the damage your weapon does, it works best on a fast weapon with low base delay. But remember that the nature of the brand prolongs fights by blinking enemies away from you and may banish stronger foes for decreased experience gain. If you have multiple weapons you intend to switch between and don't plan on following Lugonu, you almost certainly don't want to deal with a distortion weapon's guaranteed backlash effects.
  • Pious followers of Lugonu can have a weapon branded with distortion once per game, guaranteeing them access to the brand's effects. Having a distortion weapon on hand can be useful for when you want to keep monsters at bay while dealing irresistible damage. It can even banish creatures that are immune to magical effects like the Hell lords -- just be aware that particularly powerful banished creatures are likely to be waiting for you should you later travel to the Abyss yourself.
  • Be careful about the blinking effect. It gives you no message when it occurs, suddenly leaving you with empty space where that monster used to be. If you're attacking by attempting to move into the monster, your next swing will move you instead, and that can be bad when you move out of a choke-point or into unfavorable terrain. Attacking using Tab lets you avoid this, but you may still move unintentionally if other monsters are within your line of sight.
  • When facing another creature wielding a weapon of distortion (or one with a naturally distortion-branded attack, like spatial vortices), do your best not to let them into melee range if you can at all help it.
  • Unwielding a distortion weapon can serve as a last resort to teleport you while confused, but be aware that the consequences of this can be lethal (especially since the teleport will always land you next to other monsters).
    • It can also serve as a way to send yourself to the Abyss without having an entrance handy, which may be useful in particularly dangerous endgame locations like the Tomb or a Ziggurat. Just be aware that you'll return to the exact place you left (if you survive your jaunt to the Abyss at all).
  • Replacing the brand via a scroll of brand weapon or the Shining One or Kikubaaqudgha's final abilities lets you safely unwield a weapon of distortion, though it may not be worth the cost of such a valuable resource.

History

  • Prior to 0.25, distortion weapons had a chance of teleporting monsters away from you when attacking. They also caused Translocations miscast effects when unwielded.
  • Prior to 0.19, distortion weapons could sometimes heal blink frogs (including the unique blink frog Prince Ribbit), who were immune to all of the effects of the distortion brand. Additionally, the spell Warp Weapon existed, which could apply a temporary distortion brand to your weapon.
  • Prior to 0.15, rebranding a distortion weapon (e.g. by a Scroll of brand weapon) caused a distortion effect.
  • Prior to 0.14, followers of Lugonu were not protected from the effects of unwielding a distortion weapon.
  • Prior to 0.12, this brand was safer when found on sharp weapons, since blunt weapons didn't allow butchering corpses.
Brands
Melee weapons AntimagicChaosDistortionDragon slayingDrainingElectrocutionFlamingFreezingHoly wrathPainProtectionReachingReapingSpeedVampiricVenomVorpal
Launchers ElectrocutionEvasionFlameFrostPenetrationSpeedVenomVorpal
Throwing weapons AtropaCurareDaturaDispersalPenetrationPoisonedReturningSilver